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With the Presidents Cup taking place at Liberty National this week, and Sam Saunders joining the 59 club at the Web.com Tour Finals, it was difficult to keep up with everything in the golf world.
But the ladies are playing a golf tournament as well, all the way in Auckland, New Zealand. The field at the Mckayson New Zealand Women’s Open is quite strong, featuring stars like Lydia Ko, Brooke Henderson and Danielle Kang. But they are all chasing Spain’s Belen Mozo, who fired rounds of 66 and 64 to take a five shot lead at 14-under 130 through 36 holes.
Mozo, 29, was already working on a stellar second round when she reached the par-3 13th Windross Farm Golf Course, but it got a little more special after her tee shot took flight:
If you notice, there is a sleek little Infiniti Q60 in the background that Mozo eventually embraces after her ball finds the cup. There’s just one tiny problem: the rules say the car can only be won on the weekend. Dagger!
While it will surely sting, she can quickly forget about it with two more solid rounds on the weekend as she searches for her first LPGA Tour victory.
courtesy of Christopher Powers (golfdigest.com)
Lydia Ko delivered a clear message to her LPGA Tour rivals Friday.
She’s having fun again – and she’s ready to start winning again.
The 20-year-old New Zealander shot an 8-under 64 and grabbed a share of the lead with Lexi Thompson at 15-under 129 with a round left in the Indy Women in Tech Championship. If Ko puts together one more solid round Saturday, she could finally pick up her first win since July 2016.
“I know I’ve still got a whole, full 18 holes tomorrow to go, but I think really the key was that I’ve just kind of enjoyed being in this position and being able to hit some good shots and give myself some good looks at birdie,” Ko said. “When you start doing that, it builds your confidence and you’re not dwelling on, ‘Hey, am I going to hit a good shot or a bad shot.’ I think that’s kind of the mindset that I’ve kind of gotten into the last few months.”
After a summer full of frustration, the 14-time tour winner has shifted gears at Indianapolis Motor Speedway’s golf course.
Ko started the season with four top-10 finishes in seven events, but hasn’t finished higher than 10th since. She even missed the cuts in two of her last three tournaments.
Somehow, amid the intermittent sounds of chirping birds, jet engines, sirens and car horns while playing in the shadows of the racetrack’s grandstands, Ko found some serenity.
While playing partners Anna Nordqvist and Stacy Lewis, the winner last week in Portland, Oregon, struggled, Ko took advantage of the wide fairways and receptive greens and started playing like the world’s No. 1 player- a title she held for more than 80 consecutive weeks.
Now No. 8 in the world, Ko started on the back nine and opened with consecutive birdies to tie Thompson at 9 under. Ko finally broke the tie with a birdie at No. 15, then took charge with five straight birdies on the front side to reach 16 under. The only glitch came on No. 8 when Ko missed the green to the left and slid her par putt to the right for a bogey.
“It was a little disappointing to finish off with a bogey on my 17th hole, but I felt like I played the toughest hole out there,” she said while Thompson prepared to tee off nearby. “Sometimes you have those mistakes but you need to move on from that. To me, it’s just nice to play some solid golf and put myself in a good position.”
Ko also understood her score might not hold up for the outright lead.
Thompson made sure of it, following her opening 63 with a 66.
The 22-year-old Florida player closed out the front nine with three birdies on the final four holes then adding birdies at Nos. 13 and 14 to tie Ko. But Thompson’s birdie putt at No. 16 missed just to the left of the hole and she wound up scrambling for par on the final two holes when her approaches went through the greens.
“Actually, I didn’t hit one bad golf shot today,” Thompson said. “I feel great about it, I’ll never complain about a 6-under round.”
The final threesome Saturday might not need to do much scoreboard watching.
Candie Kung made nine birdies and shot a 64 to reach 14 under.
“Luckily, I was able to hit some really close ones and have some 3-footers and 5-footers for birdies and I pretty much made all of them except the last one,” Kung said.
Ashleigh Buhai was fourth at 11 under after a 66, and Cristie Kerr (67) and Amy Olson (68) were 10 under.
Kerr has more than golf on her mind.
“We live in Scottsdale, Arizona, right now, but my whole family is there (in Florida) and tons of friends and I’m just really, really worried for everybody,” Kerr said as her home state braces for Hurricane Irma.
Sandra Gal was tied with Kung at 14 under, then bogeyed the par-3 15th and hit two drives into the water on the par-4 16th en route to a 10. She finished with a 73 to drop eight strokes behind the leaders.
Amateur Erica Shepherd was 5 under after a 68.
Lewis made the cut on the number at 2 under with rounds of 72 and 70.
Nordqvist failed to advance, shooting 74-71 to finish at 1 over.
Courtesy AP NEWS
Lexi Thompson, speaking for the first time since losing the ANA Inspiration in a playoff to So Yeon Ryu earlier this month, likened her four-shot penalty experience to a nightmare.
“I played amazing that week,” Thompson said, through tears. “I don’t think I’ve ever played any better. Just for that to happen…it was kind of a nightmare.”
Thompson is in the field for this week’s Volunteers of America Texas Shootout, her first tournament since the ANA Inspiration. Thompson was assessed a pair of two-stroke penalties for hitting her ball from the wrong spot on the 17th hole and then signing an incorrect scorecard after the third round of the LPGA’s first major. Her violations, however, didn’t surface until the following day, when a TV viewer called the LPGA to report the potential penalties. She was told of the four-stroke penalty walking off the 12th green Sunday, and went from leading the tournament to trailing by two before her eventual playoff loss.
Following much discussion over social media, the USGA and R&A announced Tuesday an immediate change to the rules of golf in an attempt to protect players from being penalized for infractions that “could not reasonably have been seen with the naked eye.” Decision 34-3/10 does not eliminate viewer call-ins.
Thompson said in her press conference that while she could see where the rules officials were coming from, she stands by the fact that she has always played golf by the rules.
“The hardest part, just going through it,” Thompson said, breaking down, “I’ve worked my whole life to have my name on major championship trophies, especially that one. It’s a very special week for me with all the history behind it.”
Thompson said she never intended to mark her ball on the 17th hole during the third round, instead planning to tap in the short putt. But she said she talked herself into marking because she had missed many tap-ins previously. There was nothing in her line, and she referred the condition of the greens as “perfect.”
“I have no reason behind it,” Thompson said of her decision. “I did not mean it at all.
“I mark my ball with a dot and that’s where I focus my eyes on where I want to make contact,” Thompson said. “So when I went to mark it, I just rotated my ball to line up my dot to where my putter would make contact.”
The 22-year-old top-ranked American said she was overwhelmed by the support she received following the loss. She didn’t let it keep her from the game, playing a round with her brothers just two days after the ordeal.
Golf Channel insider Tim Rosaforte said Wednesday that the USGA, per a source, has not ruled out changing the call-in rule. Many pros, reacting to the USGA and R&A change, thought the amendment could have gone one step further to eliminate viewer call-ins. Thompson is in that camp.
“Do I think it’s right?” Thompson said. “Not really, but it’s not my say.”
courtesy of Marika Washchyshyn (golf.com)
Former LPGA star and current CBS broadcaster Dottie Pepper has some advice for young World No. 1 Lydia Ko: you, and only you, are responsible for everything that’s going on in your life.
Writing in her year-end round-up for ESPN, Pepper criticized the 19-year-old’s helicopter-parents and former coach, David Leadbetter. But ultimately, she had some stern words for the LPGA phenom.
“Take ownership of everything in your life and do your preparation in the quiet of your home, not in the public eye,” Pepper wrote.
Ko has cleaned house this off season, starting with her caddie Jason Hamilton, followed closely in succession by coaches Sean Hogan and David Leadbetter. She’s also looking at an equipment switch — it would appear Ko is preparing for a completely new start in 2017.
“I’m not going to judge the personalities involved, but I will always be critical of over-involved parents/spouses as well as students and teachers who don’t arrive at tournaments with their preparation complete,” Pepper writes. “Tournament time is when you put your work on auto pilot and play golf, not try to reinvent the wheel with a teacher stuck to you like cellophane.”
Will Ko employ a new entourage or heed Pepper’s advice? The 2017 LPGA season kicks off at the end of January in the Bahamas, likely our first indication of what the young New Zealander plans to do.
Courtesy of Golfwire.
In a surprising move on Tuesday, World No. 1 Lydia Ko fired her coach of three years, David Leadbetter. Leadbetter says the decision may have been influenced by Ko’s parents and their unrealistic expectations for the teenage prodigy.
In interviews on PGA Tour Radio and with Golf Digest, Leadbetter mentioned the interference of Ko’s parents in her career. “It was a bit of a shock. But there are other forces involved. The parents are involved,” he said of the split on Sirius XM on Friday. Leadbetter praised Ko as a role model and a “delight” to work with, but attributed her faltering performance in the last part of her season to parental pressure and too many commitments: “With all these outside pressures and people in her team, I’ll call it that, expecting that she should win every week…She’s not a machine.”
Leadbetter’s comments about Ko’s parents to Golf Digest were even more damning. “They tell her when to go to bed, what to eat, what to wear, when to practice and what to practice,” he said. “And they expect her to win every tournament. They are good people, who love their daughter and want the very best for her…But they are naive about golf. And at some point, they’ve got to let the bird fly from the nest. I would often think, ‘It’s not easy coaching three people.’” Leadbetter said that Ko’s father had taken to correcting and criticizing Ko’s swing, overwhelming his daughter with extraneous and, Leadbetter says, unhelpful information.
The coach dates Ko’s wobbling this fall to the Olympics, where she had her heart set on taking home a gold medal (a goal that was strongly encouraged by her father, according to Leadbetter). She walked away with a silver, and was “mentally and physically shattered” after the struggle to win was over. “There was so much pressure on her,” he said on the Radio.
For all she has accomplished in her short career, Ko is only 19-years-old. Leadbetter hopes his former student will find a way to navigate her own path. He said he was hopeful she would heed his final advice to her: “Take control of your life. Take control of your golf game. Make more of your own decisions.”
Courtesy of golfwire
In a stunning upset, Donald Trump defeated Hillary Clinton on Election Day and will take office as the 45th president on Jan. 20, 2017.
The real-estate-mogul-turned-Republican-president-elect owns some of the top golf courses in the world. His Trump National Bedminster will the host the 2017 U.S. Women’s Open and the 2022 PGA Championship.
Many Tour pros are fans of Trump — others, not so much — and several of them took to social media to voice their opinion on their new president. Check out the mixed reaction below.
John Daly ? @PGA_JohnDaly
Jack Nicklaus ? @jacknicklaus
David Feherty ? @Fehertwit
Congratulations to the Donald!
Dani Holmqvist @DHolmqvist
So much hate and derogatory comments this am. Instead, no matter what your views may be. Appreciate that you have the luxury of democracy.
Ko had four birdies in a five-hole stretch and closed with another birdie for a 5-under 67 in windy conditions at rain-soaked Miramar.
She would jump from second to first in the world with a victory or second-place finish Sunday and also could take the top spot under other scenarios depending on where top-ranked Inbee Park finishes in the Korea LPGA’s KB Financial Star Championship. Park, the winner last year at Miramar, was tied for fourth Saturday in the South Korean event.
Ko had a 13-under 203 total. South Korea’s Eun-Hee Ji, a stroke ahead after each of the first two rounds, was second after a 72.
When Horace Rawlins won the inaugural U.S. Open, in 1895, we’re pretty sure no one pounded him on the back and said, “Congrats on your first major championship victory, old boy.” History shows it takes a long time for tournaments to be accorded that august status. The first little invitational in Augusta was held in 1934, but it wasn’t until the early ’60s, when Arnold Palmer and color TV arrived together, that the Masters became a big deal. So who
2. Silverado. A sleepy little season-opener is suddenly big-time with Tiger and Rory committing at the point of a bayonet. I’m already stocking up on pens, notebooks and bottle openers.
3. Tiger. Pros are flocking to his new restaurant, and his mere presence at Sunday Night Football relegated Jordan Spieth to an afterthought. That’s star power, baby.
4. Annie Park. With her third Symetra Tour win in nine starts this talented 20-year-old has punched her ticket to the LPGA. Golf’s youth movement goes on and on and on.
5. Thomas Pieters. He earned his second victory in the span of three weeks on the Euro tour. Keep your eye on this 23-year-old Belgian for next year’s Ryder Cup. As if the European team isn’t stacked enough.
1. Lexi. Maybe no one was going to hold off Ko this time around, but Thompson’s chip-yipped double bogey on the 14th hole certainly made it easy on her callow challenger.
2. The U.S. Walker Cup team. I know these guys look up to the pros, but do they have to play like it’s the Ryder Cup, too?
3. The World Ranking. It might’ve just usurped the BCS rankings as sport’s most annoying algorithm.
4. Michelle Wie. I’m a big fan, but you simply can’t sport aviator shades, high-top pink shoes and rainbow-colored hair and then go out and shoot 75.
5. Presidents Cup outfits. Lucky golf fans, we now get to choose the clothes for day one of the competition, thanks to a just-unveiled PGA Tour promotion. I’m opting for a paper bag in a distressed-khaki color so I can wear it over my head in shame as I vote.
courtesy of Alan Shipnuck (golf.com)
Tamulis played 29 holes Sunday in the twice-delayed tournament, the 186th of her LPGA Tour career. She finished a third-round 67 and closed with a 65 to beat Yani Tseng and Austin Ernst by a stroke.
The 34-year-old former Florida State player finished at 17-under 271 on The Senator Course.
Tseng had rounds of 71 and 67, and Ernst shot 68-69 with the weather clearing up after delays totaling nearly 7 hours the previous two days. Both parred the final hole with a chance to force a playoff.
Tamulis birdied four of the first six holes in the final round before finally making her only bogey of the last three rounds. She hadn’t finished better than fourth on the tour.
courtesy of AP NEWS (golf.com)
“Could be a week or two months,” Wie told reporters after receiving medical attention in the physio room at Turnberry.
Wie was 10 over par for the round, which was played in wet and windy conditions, and 14 over for the tournament.
Wie, one of the stars of women’s golf, developed a bone spur in her left foot after the U.S. Women’s Open last month, and has been wearing a protective boot in Scotland when she was not on the course.
Wie’s left ankle was causing her some discomfort when she when she teed off Friday, and she felt a sharp pain when she stepped in a hole early in the round. She then slipped to the ground on the 13th tee and couldn’t put weight on her left foot.
Wie completed the hole, making a third straight bogey, before withdrawing.
“As frustrating as it is, it just seems like I can’t force it anymore,” Wie said.
Wie, last year’s Women’s U.S. Open champion, hadn’t practiced for two weeks before arriving in western Scotland.
courtesy of AP News (golf.com)